NICE

Posted in Quick Hits on July 27th, 2009 by Ed

If the legislators firmly attached to the NRA's wang believe so strongly that people should be allowed to carry guns into my classroom, why are there metal detectors in the Capitol? Why not inspire the world by standing behind their beliefs and allowing people to be armed in their place of business? EJ Dionne wants to know. So do I.

BEHOLD, A DEAD HORSE

Posted in Rants on July 27th, 2009 by Ed

If only we could tell ourselves that this video of Sarah Palin's going away speech, of which I believe there were about 12, would be the last time we'd be subjected to her punctuation free, stream-of-consciousness, Mad Lib-meets-Esperanto oratory. Every word of her farewell makes it clear just how amazing the McCain/RNC speechwriters must be to have been to make her sound like a semiliterate human being during her primetime Convention speech. Their efforts were ripped straight from the pages of Great Expectations.

My first question is, why was this given live all-networks coverage? If anyone can point out the news value in giving an admitted self-promoting shill who is now a private citizen live coverage to sell her crap about why she quit (For Alaska! So selfless of her!) I'd love to hear it. Second, why are we still talking about Sarah Palin? This goes far, far beyond beating a dead horse at this point. Then it hit me, as I drifted into altered states of consciousness during her rambling exercise in luring the English language into her windowless van and fingering it. It's our fault. Not "we" as in the American public. Left-wingers. The media are pouring gas on this trainwreck because they think we enjoy watching it burn.

We have to look at Palin on TV for the same reason that the Bravo network plays Showgirls regularly; because our kind are absolutely addicted to sarcasm. Palin exists as a media entity at this point not because anyone takes her seriously and not because her kamikaze run for the White House is going everywhere (The RNC is sitting around thinking "You know what Americans want? Someone who is dumb as a bag of doorknobs and dangerously erratic!"). She is an attempt by the news networks to rope in cynical, smart-assed 24 year olds. She is the Snakes on a Plane of political figures.

She's not going away because she is useful to Tina Fey and Letterman. She's not going away because we desperately want to see her run in 2012 so that, unless Obama starts huffing glue on camera, the election will be a non-starter. She's not going away because she's a complete rube who got a little taste of Manhattan shopping sprees and doesn't want to let go. I am blaming the victims, in essence. It's our fault that we have to watch this shit.

Our love of snark and camp creates perverse incentives. When I rent You Got Served to make fun of it, it encourages the studio to make more. When we all rush to YouTube to view and mock "My Humps" it increases the notoriety of the "artists" who make such crap. I think a good deal of caution is required here. Not only does the continued attention encourage her, it plays directly into the plan that her handlers and the RNC have been operating under since Day One: winning sympathy. The idea of throwing an adorable puppy into a shark tank and making none-too-bright Americans teary-eyed watching it get ripped to shreds is not a new one. History tells us that she is so badly damaged at this point that she can't be taken seriously as a candidate, but why push the envelope? A good strategy at this point, now that she holds no elected office, is to ignore her entirely until she does something newsworthy. Which is to say until she announces her candidacy for 2012.

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